Muroc Maru

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AAF Temporary Building (Target) T-799
"Muroc Maru"
Part of Muroc Army Air Base
Rogers Dry Lake, California
Muroc Maru with B-25.jpg
The "Muroc Maru" overflown by a B-25 Mitchell
Coordinates 34°50′40″N 117°53′24″W / 34.84444°N 117.89000°W / 34.84444; -117.89000
Type Target facility
Site information
Open to
the public
Condition Razed
Site history
Built 1943
Built by U.S. Army Air Forces
In use 1943–1950
Demolished 1950
Garrison information
Garrison Edwards Air Force Base, California

Muroc Maru, officially AAF Temporary Building (Target) T-799, was a replica of a Japanese Takao-class cruiser constructed on the floor of Rogers Dry Lake in southern California during World War II. Used to train bomber pilots and bombardiers in techniques for attacking warships, Muroc Maru remained in place until 1950, when it was demolished.


AAF Temporary Building (Target) T-799 was built during 1943 on the southern end of Rogers Dry Lake in California for the purpose of training United States Army Air Forces bomber pilots, navigators and bombardiers in bombing, strafing, and the identification of warships, including skip bombing techniques. The lakebed site was chosen for the construction of the training structure as the bright sand dunes, sculpted to give the appearance of a wake around the 'ship', created the illusion of the vessel being at sea.[1]

Designed to mimic the size and appearance of a Takao-class heavy cruiser of the Imperial Japanese Navy, the structure was constructed from four-by-four lumber and chicken wire, with tar paper covering the "hull" to complete the illusion of a solid, fully constructed ship.[1] The structure cost $35,819.18 to build.[2]

Operational history

The Lockheed XF-14 overflying the "Muroc Maru"

Upon completion of the structure, Army Air Force pilots assigned to train at the nearby Muroc Army Air Field – now Edwards Air Force Base – using the "ship" gave it the nickname Muroc Maru, after the location of the vessel and "Maru" being a common suffix for Japanese ship names. The structure was used for training until 1950, when it was declared a hazard to air navigation and disassembled following clearance of unexploded ordnance.[1][3]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Ship of the Desert". Air Force Magazine. Arlington, VA: Air Force Association. 100 (3): 59. March 2017. ISSN 0730-6784.
  2. ^ Merlin, Peter W.; Tony Moore (2008). X-Plane Crashes: Exploring Experimental Rocket Plane and Spycraft Incidents, Accidents and Crash Sites. North Branch, MN: Specialty Press. p. 12. ISBN 978-1580072229.
  3. ^ "Man in Space: A National Historic Landmark Theme Study". National Park Service. 8 January 2001. Retrieved 2017-12-01.

External links

  • WW2 newsreel on the Muroc Maru
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